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Offshore Oil & Gas rig

Battelle Oil & Gas Newsletter

October 2016 - Issue 9

Industry Insights
Three engineers looking up at oil pump

Helping Oil & Gas Innovators Cross the “Valley of Death”

What does it take to take a great idea from concept to commercial success? Thousands of small companies and startups are working to bring new technologies to the oil & gas industry. Battelle is working with many of them through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) and other programs aimed at helping companies cross the “valley of death” to bring new innovations to market.

Small businesses and technology startups are a hotbed of fresh new ideas that can lead to disruptive innovation in an industry. Within the oil & gas community, many small companies are working on technologies that could solve critical problems for the industry, from better brine disposal solutions to more durable high pressure/high temperature materials. But most startups fail before they can turn great ideas into market-ready products—a cycle commonly known in the investment community as the “valley of death curve.” The STTR program, administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and funded through various federal agencies, provides funding to help companies bring new technologies to market and foster technology transfer between research institutions and small business. The Department of Energy (DOE) funds STTR and SBIR grants for the oil & gas and energy industries. 

Battelle works with small businesses in various industries—including the oil & gas space—each year, many of them funded through SBIR/STTR. As the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, Battelle brings together a unique combination of resources to help such companies accelerate technology transfer and development. They use a systematic approach based on decades of experience in technology development for the oil & gas industry. The goal is to help companies bridge the gap between their vision and a market-ready product that is technically and economically viable. Battelle’s technology transfer services include:    

  • Subject matter expertise in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines for targeted technical support and problem solving 
  • Modeling and simulation capabilities to reduce development time and costs and improve the chances of a successful outcome  
  • Rapid prototyping and scale-up for manufacturing
  • Independent testing and evaluation services

Over the last decade, Battelle has helped numerous small businesses in the oil & gas industry bring new technologies to market. One of such small businesses is Olympic Research, Inc., which is developing self-forming ceramic plugs for downhole application in oil and gas, carbon storage, geothermal and borehole storage industries. Battelle is assisting with subject matter expertise on wellbore integrity and industry common practices and regulation. Battelle also recently assisted Olympic with the first field test of the technology.